Clinical Pharmacist vs Pharmd

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Team College Learners

Clinical pharmacists play a crucial role in the healthcare system by providing direct patient care and medication management services. On the other hand, a PharmD is a specialized degree that prepares individuals for a career in pharmacy. While both clinical pharmacists and PharmD graduates work closely with medications, their roles and responsibilities may differ significantly.

To become a PharmD, individuals must complete a rigorous educational program that typically takes four years to complete. Admission requirements for PharmD programs may vary depending on the university, but common prerequisites include a strong academic background in science and mathematics, letters of recommendation, completion of prerequisite courses such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy, and a competitive score on the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

When applying to a PharmD program, prospective students must submit a completed application through the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) and meet all specified deadlines.

Admissions committees will review applicants based on their academic performance, letters of recommendation, personal essays, extracurricular activities, and any relevant work experience in the field of pharmacy. Successful candidates will then be invited for an interview before a final decision is made regarding their admission to the program.

Clinical Pharmacist Vs Pharmd

We begin with Clinical Pharmacist Vs Pharmd, then clinical pharmacist salary, clinical pharmacist qualifications, scope of clinical pharmacy and difference between hospital pharmacy and clinical pharmacy.

The differences between a clinical pharmacist and a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) are not that great. While they are both pharmacists, they go through different training programs and have different responsibilities. The main difference is that clinical pharmacists work in hospitals and doctors of pharmacy work in pharmacies.

The scope of clinical pharmacy includes administering medications to patients under the supervision of physicians, whereas drug therapy management involves counseling patients on how to take their medications properly and recommending changes when necessary. In addition, clinical pharmacists also provide information on how drugs interact with each other or with other substances. They also help patients manage side effects and monitor their health during treatment.

A doctor is trained to diagnose and treat diseases. They use medications as well as other treatment methods such as surgery or physical therapy. They can also prescribe medications and do tests on patients in order to determine what is wrong with them so that they can recommend appropriate treatment options based on their findings.

A clinical pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that medications are safe for use by their patients whether they are prescribed by doctors or purchased over-the-counter at local drug stores such as CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid etc…They also work closely with doctors when dispensing prescriptions for these medications so that they will be properly administered according to doctor’s orders.”

Clinical PharmacistPharmD


  • Ensure medications are safe for patients

  • Work closely with doctors

  • Dispense prescriptions

  • Provide medication counseling


  • Doctor of Pharmacy degree

  • 4 years of pharmacy school

  • Pharmacy rotations

  • Pharmacy licensing exam

Work Settings

  • Hospitals

  • Clinics

  • Pharmacies

  • Long-term care facilities


  • Pharmacology knowledge

  • Communication skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Problem-solving abilities


  • Work with healthcare team

  • Consult with physicians

  • Discuss medication therapy

  • Monitor patient progress


  • Clinical pharmacy

  • Geriatric pharmacy

  • Oncology pharmacy

  • Pediatric pharmacy

Pharmacology Vs Pharmacy: The Amazing Differences Between The Two

clinical pharmacist salary

Now we consider clinical pharmacist salary, clinical pharmacist qualifications, scope of clinical pharmacy and difference between hospital pharmacy and clinical pharmacy.

A person working as a Clinical Pharmacist in Nigeria typically earns around 423,000 NGN per month. Salaries range from 229,000 NGN (lowest) to 639,000 NGN (highest).

This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Clinical Pharmacist salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.

clinical pharmacist qualifications

More details coming up on clinical pharmacist qualifications, scope of clinical pharmacy and difference between hospital pharmacy and clinical pharmacy.

The clinical pharmacist is a growing field with a lot of potential for growth. It will continue to grow as technology advances, and the need for pharmacists in hospitals increases. The clinical pharmacist provides direct patient care and works closely with patients and their doctors to ensure that they are getting the best care possible.

To become a clinical pharmacist you must have previous experience working as a clinical pharmacist for at least (x) years, an MA in Pharmacy, Pharmacology or similar relevant field, current license and residency training, excellent knowledge of pharmaceutical therapy, hands-on experience with direct patient care.

scope of clinical pharmacy

The field of clinical pharmacy is a broad one, and it encompasses many different areas of specialization.

Drug Evaluation and Selection: Clinical pharmacists are responsible for evaluating drugs and their potential interactions with other medications, as well as with the patient’s own medical history. They are also responsible for selecting the best treatment option for the patient based on their specific needs.

Medication Therapy Management: This area focuses on making sure that patients are taking their medications correctly, whether they’re prescribed by a doctor or self-administered. The medication therapy management team ensures that patients understand how to properly use their medications and gives them support when needed.

Formal Education and Training Programs: Clinical pharmacists also provide education to doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who will be prescribing medications to their patients. They teach these professionals about new drug treatments, what kind of side effects to look out for, how long it might take for a drug to work—and much more!

Disease State Management: Clinical pharmacists specialize in helping patients manage diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. In this role, they’ll work with doctors and nurses to develop treatment plans using medications (or alternative therapies) that will keep your disease under control while minimizing side effects.

difference between hospital pharmacy and clinical pharmacy

As a discipline, clinical pharmacy also has an obligation to contribute to the generation of new knowledge that advances health and quality of life. Hospital pharmacy is a specialization of this field that includes additional duties such as aiding doctors in applying drug therapy.

Hospital pharmacists work with doctors to prescribe medications for patients admitted to the hospital. They may also be called on by doctors to administer medication or provide patient education about their prescriptions. Clinical pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that the drugs they dispense are safe and effective for patients.

Think back to the last time you needed quick, trustworthy advice about a prescription. Unlike your physician’s office, which requires an appointment (or a long wait for a return phone call or email), a quick call connects you with an expert healthcare provider immediately—your pharmacist.

The scope of pharmacy practice grows each decade, especially as we head into another year of a global pandemic. Pharmacy Times predicts that in the next year, pharmacists will play an even greater role in delivering patient-focused care, navigating vaccinations, and managing new technology to streamline the payment process.

If you’re eyeing a career path in the pharmaceutical industry, you may be wondering about some common terms. In this article, we’ll help you sort through terminology in pharmacy education and how to determine which path is right for you. For example, we’ll cover:

  • Doctor of pharmacy vs pharmacist: How are they related?
  • What is a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program?
  • What are your top options for Doctor of Pharmacy programs?
  • What types of job and salary opportunities can you expect with a PharmD?

Doctor of Pharmacy vs pharmacist: How are they related?

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) is the professional degree required to become a pharmacist in the US. Practicing pharmacists complete an average of six years in school—including their pre-pharmacy education—before passing required exams and completing post-graduate training.

Here’s where things often get confusing. The word “pharmacist” is sometimes used in casual conversation to refer to healthcare professionals who aren’t technically licensed to be pharmacists.

For example, pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists. They work behind the counter among the medications right alongside the pharmacist. However, they don’t need a Doctor of Pharmacy to do their job. A pharmaceutical sales representative typically needs four years of a bachelor’s degree with a foundation in chemistry and biology, though this is not always a requirement. Neither of these professionals is technically a pharmacist, although laypeople may mistakenly describe them that way.

And pursuing a PharmD doesn’t always mean you’ll work in a community pharmacy. In fact, just slightly fewer than half of all PharmD recipients end up in this role. Another 15 percent practice in other healthcare settings—hospitals, nursing homes, and managed care centers, for example. Other pharmacy students pursue research roles, government regulation positions, or work in highly specialized areas like oncology or geriatric pharmacy.

To help further dispel any confusion, let’s look at the relevant degrees that are not a Doctor of Pharmacy.

What is a BS in pharmaceutical sciences?

Following high school, students passionate about working in the health care system—but not positive about where they’ll land after graduation—can begin with a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences.

This four-year program balances a mix of chemistry, biology, and the health sciences applicable to drug development and research. The University at Buffalo notes that its graduates go on to roles as consumer safety officers, drug analysts, and marketing representatives. They also may continue studying in graduate programs to become nurses, pharmacists or medical doctors.

What is a PhD in pharmacological sciences?

Unlike the Doctor of Pharmacy, a PhD degree in pharmacological sciences deeply explores the rigorous research involved in drug development. These intensive programs prepare students specifically to work for the federal government, the pharmaceutical industry, or academic and research institutions.

The University Of Maryland’s program extends four years or longer, depending on the length of the thesis defense process. PhD progams may designate specializations. UMD, for example, offers concentrations in pharmacometrics, chemical and biology discovery, and translational therapeutics.

What is a Master of Science in Pharmacology?

Within the wide field of pharmacy jobs, a master’s degree in pharmacology opens the door to various pathways without a doctorate. Northeastern University describes its program as one that covers “both the theoretical and applied aspects of pharmacology at all levels of biological organization, from the molecular to the living organism.”

The program takes two years to complete on a full-time basis, longer for part-time students. Graduates go on to work as medical writers, Big Pharma administrators, or teachers.

What is a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program?

If you want to earn the title of licensed pharmacist, you’ll need a Doctor of Pharmacy. The program welcomes students directly undergraduate studies. In some instances, you can enroll in a six-year combined bachelor’s/PharmD program. A PharmD curriculum combines coursework on the complex science behind medications with instruction in the professional skills pharmacists need to meet the profession’s challenges.

A school of pharmacy incorporates experiential training to meet the requirements to sit for state exams as well as the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).

Is a PharmD program right for you?

Daydreaming about a white coat ceremony and working behind the local pharmacy counter? The PharmD is the higher education option for you. The program is intense and may require additional post-graduate training, but licensure opens up a wide range of career opportunities and high-paying salaries. While you will find a handful of online programs, the majority of PharmD degrees require an in-person element to graduate.

How many years does it take to graduate?

The PharmD track technically begins either in undergrad or in a pre-professional program that flows into the PharmD portion. When completed separately, students will study for between two and four years to meet prerequisite requirements, and then four years in the PharmD track itself. Many schools combine these two stages, resulting in a six-year program for licensure.

What are the PharmD admissions requirements?

Butler University is a prime example of both the six-year and four-year format. Students can ensure that they’ve checked all the prerequisite boxes specifically required for Butler by being accepted into the pre-professional track. Courses include topics like biochemistry, cell biology, calculus, and human anatomy and physiology, and up to three courses may come from AP or IB high school courses.

You’ll also need a 3.0 GPA, at least a C- in the prerequisite courses, and the standard application, interview, and essay packet.

Butler University will launch an online PharmD program in the fall of 2022.

Admission outside of a school’s pre-pharmacy programs typically includes taking the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) exams, completing transferable courses, and meeting competitive standards on your transcripts and resumes.

What do PharmD students study?

Unlike the research-focused PhD or the industry-wide master’s program, a PharmD focuses on the fine points of being a pharmacist. Students dive deep into the science of disease and treatment with modern medications and explore the business, regulatory, and ethical demands of the profession. They may specialize through elective courses and concentrations.

PharmD programs typically introduce experiential learning relatively early in the curriculum. Some programs commence fieldwork as soon as the second year. By the final year, students typically transition to full-time rotations.

Are there specialization options?

Specialization is at the core of a PharmD program, even when students intend to take the most common path at the start of their studies. Many eventually work in community pharmacies. However, programs like Butler’s encourage rotations in the fourth year to expose students to the many facets of the pharmaceutical industry open to licensed professionals.

You will also have the option to pursue a dual degree in related areas like business, public health, or other medical professions. After graduation, students specialize further in professional residencies or research fellowships.

What are your top options for Doctor of Pharmacy programs?

We’ve listed below PharmD programs that US News and World Report ranks among the top.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC at Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy revamped its PharmD curriculum several years ago. Students now transition into immersive patient care work immediately after their first year. Students also can choose from a selection of specialized pathways including research and scholarship, rural pharmacies, or global pharmaceutical practice.

University of California – San Francisco

If you’re searching for the rare three-year PharmD program, UCSF offers a highly ranked pathway for express graduation. Students explore foundational and inquiry-based classes in their first two years and transition fully to advanced rotations by their third year. The program culminates in a group “discovery project” in your area of choice.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

UM at Ann Arbor’s PharmD program directly collaborates with the University of Michigan Health system for advanced mentorship and residency opportunities. Over 60 percent of recent graduates went on to postgraduate studies. The school also stands out for its lower-than-average tuition and small class sizes.

University of Minnesota

UMN proudly notes its high employment rate within six months of graduation—as high as 97 percent. Students can customize their curriculum with a series of electives on specialized mental health or research-focused tracks. The school offers a series of dual-degree programs as well in areas such as business administration, public health, and health informatics.

Online and hybrid options

Online PharmD programs strive to strike a similar balance between coursework and hands-on experience, but with fewer in-person requirements. Duquesne University, for instance, requires minimal in-person sessions in the first three years.

The fourth year requires a clinical immersion, but often leads directly to job opportunities. Some online PharmD programs will allow students to complete their rotations local to their area when possible, eliminating travel altogether.

As previously mentioned, Butler University will launch an online PharmD program in the fall of 2022.

What types of job and salary opportunities can you expect with a PharmD?

Post-doctoral fellowships—specialized mentorship programs to obtain additional training and certifications—typically pay an average of $61,230, according to Glassdoor. Don’t be fooled by the comparatively low number—most fellows go on to six-figure salaries the moment they complete their final years of training. Where they go from here depends on their interest and career goals.

Here are a few popular Pharm positions and their average salaries:

  • Community pharmacist: The most common career path for PharmD graduates; entry-level salries range from $97,381 to $123,494.
  • Hospital pharmacist: Graduates with specialized training to work in clinical or hospital settings can make an average of $133,500 to $150,900.
  • Clinical research pharmacist: Development-focused pharmacists can transition to government or private research organizations and make an average of $126,600 and $143,000 a year.
  • Nuclear pharmacist: This is just one example of a highly specialized pharmacy track. The salary of a nuclear pharmacist—an expert on utilizing radioactive materials for disease treatment—makes between $132,227 to $151,826.

Perhaps most importantly, pharmacists can continue to explore their interests as their careers progress. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and a range of similar organizations offer professional certifications in areas like informatics, opioid stewardship, teaching, or diversity and inclusion.

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